Vodafone pushes dealers to mobility

Vodafone is targeting Microsoft SBS 2003 partners with its latest Windows Mobile Email devices and bundles. Category manager for mobile email, Stuart Kane, said there was growing customer demand for convenient mobile options.

"Resellers are faced with decreasing margins on notebook and desktop sales," he said. "This is an opportunity for them to extend the computing platform into a mobile environment and reap commissions from end-to-end business solutions.

"Microsoft SBS 2003 already forms the core of many office-based LANs. When combined with Windows Mobile Email, businesses can expand the reach of their network into a secure WAN."

The Vodafone range of i-mate smart phones operates on Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0. Its small business server bundles offer Microsoft SBS 2003 on Acer Altos servers, with i-mate voice and mobile email devices and a Vodafone voice and data plan. These are available through Ingram Micro.

Kane said resellers could offer complete packages that allow multiple users to share a business cap. Data bundle packages are also available.

He estimated resellers could earn five times more revenue than on a standard SBS deployment.

National IT channel manager, Jason Murray, said the business cap and bundle offerings gave resellers a chance to compete with mass merchants like Harvey Norman.

The telco has state-based business development managers (BDMs) to help resellers sell and understand the devices. It also offers technical telephone support to dealers and customers.

"The channel is always scared of selling telco," he said. "The BDMs are there to take the hassle out of selling mobility."